There is no doubt that Toyota’s new midsize SUV has set a new sales record, but what does it mean for the future of SUVs? Is Toyota looking ahead to building a whole new segment of SUV vehicles? And can we expect any more substantial changes to the design and features of the Toyota brand? We will take a look at some of these questions here.
First, let’s take a look at why the new Toyota Prius is the largest electric vehicle (EV) ever sold. The company released a sustainability report detailing the improvements that it made to the product in response to growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions. It was also very careful to point out that it is only one of several major manufacturers of EV vehicles, and that none of them have yet come close to reaching the electrification potential of the Toyota Prius. Remember, the biggest manufacturing milestone simply refers to the creation of the new electric suv model at the Toyota factory in Mexico.
Second, let’s consider what the biggest automotive change from the way vehicles are built currently works. When a company such as Toyota develops, builds, and sells a new car, the company can expect a significant tax write off. That’s because fuel costs are so high right now. In fact, the fuel price differential between a gasoline powered vehicle and an electric powered vehicle is greater than five dollars a gallon.
Yes, there are currently some electric vehicle manufacturers in China. But those vehicles have a capacity limit of around two or three hundred thousand miles. They cannot compete with the mileage records of a typical mid-size sedan like the Toyota Prius. If the Chinese produce an efficient larger electric SUV, they may well be able to beat the mileage records held by Toyota, but it will take a long time until they catch up.
The third biggest change in the auto industry has come about due to technology advances. Self-driving vehicles such as the Toyota Prius now have the ability to “sense” their surroundings and adjust the driving parameters to keep them from over-driving. By changing the parameters of the vehicle on the fly, the Prius can safely negotiate city traffic, parallel park, and even stop and go. While the biggest problem with self-driving electric cars is the safety of the passengers, the biggest potential benefit is cost savings for car makers.
The biggest potential savings come from electric cars being cheaper to drive. It is very unlikely that the current generation of vehicles will have a price tag anywhere near that of a full-size SUV. So theoretically one could make a full-size electric SUV and still save over one hundred dollars a gallon. The biggest question mark is how much room would a full-size sedan or SUV have left to add features to make it more appealing to a broader range of consumers.
Fortunately there is still enough space to add a few features. Luckily the Chinese are building prototypes of electric vehicles right now. If they can successfully miniaturize an automobile then it won’t take long for them to miniaturize an electric pickup truck. As soon as they have a production model that is as small as a sport utility vehicle they will be able to produce their own version of a Prius. It’s not out of the question that the first electric pickup truck will be sold in China.
It is likely that the biggest electric SUV will be built in China since that country manufactures the majority of the vehicles that will enter the US market. When you factor in manufacturing costs and the high cost of a fuel efficient vehicle it becomes clear that the margins for the manufacturers in China are extremely high. They are going to have a much lower overhead than the American companies. So I think it is a done deal for the Chinese to win the electric motor car segment. Please consider all this.